Student Rights & Responsibilities

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Frequently Asked Questions

This part of our Web site is designed to help answer some of the questions you may have about our disciplinary process. This section is separated into FAQ's for students, faculty/staff and individuals outside of our community, such as parents, attorneys, advisors, etc. Please use the toolbar below to navigate the FAQ section.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is obligated to uphold the confidentiality of its records and communications with Florida State University students. In keeping with our educational philosophy, we encourage students to seek out resources to help them answer any questions that they may have. We ask that parents, advisors and attorneys speak with the student about any concerns before contacting our office as we will only be able to provide procedural information in order to comply with confidentiality regulations. In order for a staff member from our office to provide confidential information to a third party regarding a student’s case, the student will need to sign the confidentiality waiver form. Please refer to the Student Conduct Code for procedural inquiries.

FAQs for Families

Will I be notified if my student is charged with violating the Student Conduct Code?

  • The Parental Notification Policy at FSU states that we can notify parents in emergency situations or when students are engaging in high risk behavior. In addition, we will notify parents of students who are found responsible for possession or consumption of alcohol as an underage student twice within one year.

What is my role in the student conduct process? How can I help my student?

  • You can help to guide the student through the process and be supportive while holding the student accountable to your expectations and the university's expectations. You can also help identify and provide necessary interventions, such as alcohol or drug evaluations, anger management, and others, so that your student can be successful at FSU. Remind the student it is their responsibility to set appointments, attend meetings, and fulfill sanctions.

Can I attend a student conduct meeting and/or hearing with my student?

  • The student can choose to bring an advisor of his/her choice to a Student Conduct meeting and/or Hearing. Students may only have one advisor. Students are required to address the hearing body in person, on their own behalf, although they may consult with their advisor during the hearing. This consultation must take place in a manner that does not disrupt the proceedings. The advisor shall not speak on behalf of the student unless expressly authorized to do so by the hearing body.

Will a disciplinary record keep my student from getting into graduate school and securing a job, etc.

  • A disciplinary record does not automatically exclude a student from further study, employment, leadership roles, etc. The decision would depend on the type or severity of misconduct in which a student is involved. A disciplinary record may lead an admissions office to more closely scrutinize the student's application. Our office releases information about a student's disciplinary record to another school or potential employer as allowed by the records policy, or with the permission of the student.

Why is a particular rule or policy in place?

  • Policies are designed to support the university's educational mission. They are meant to support a safe environment where people can work, study, and live without undue interference. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, teach students responsibility and interdependence, as well as promote moral and ethical development.

This incident happened off campus. Why is the university involved?

  • The university has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on-campus and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the university community and the university mission.

I know my student could not have done this; I didn't raise my student that way. So why is my student being charged?

  • Developmentally this is a period of exploration, experimentation, and testing for students. They may be in a period of transition from late adolescence to adulthood. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents for the first time. Students may test the beliefs and values they learned at home and they may make choices that are inconsistent with these values. Such testing is part of the developmental process and is normal. However, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences.

FAQs for Faculty/Staff

How do I file a report of an incident?

  • If you feel a violation of the Student Conduct Code has occurred against you or you have witnessed an incident, you may contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to file a report in the form of a signed, written statement. The office will then determine if the information warrants student conduct code charges. You are also encouraged to file a report with the FSU Police to determine if what has occurred is a violation of any laws and to allow police to investigate the incident. FSUPD will forward a copy of their report to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities after the case is closed.

What information should I include in a report?

  • Submit a written summary of the incident and include your name, the full name of the student who is allegedly involved, and any pertinent witnesses to the incident (if necessary). Also include the date, time and location along with specific details of the event, including direct observations and quotes.

What happens after the report is submitted?

  • Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will review the report to decide whether or not Student Conduct Code violations are involved. If so, the student will be sent a Student Conduct Charge letter addressing the Student Conduct code violations and will be notified on how to proceed. The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities might also contact the faculty or staff member who reported the incident to ask questions about the incident and to clarify information.

What will I be requested to do if the student is charged with violating the Student Conduct Code?

  • The faculty or staff member would be requested to attend a Student Conduct Hearing as a witness to provide information and answer questions. Both the hearing body and the charged student have the opportunity to ask witnesses questions during the hearing. In the event that the faculty or staff member is listed as a victim on the report for violations of endangerment, harassment, or sexual misconduct, the faculty or staff member would have "Complainant Rights" under the process.

What if I have a question about an incident and am not sure if I will officially report it?

  • Contact 644-5136 to speak with the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

How do I find out what happens to the student after s/he is reported to Student Rights and Responsibilities?

  • Our office cannot provide information unless the student grants authorization, or unless the information is provided to a victim of endangerment, harassment, or sexual misconduct. There may also be instances when the staff or faculty member is in a "need to know" position and the information can be conveyed (for instance, if a student is not permitted in a specific building as a result of the sanction for a violation). All Student Conduct matters are considered to be educational records and are protected under FERPA.

What should I do if a student is acting strangely and/or seems distressed?

How can I become a member of the Student Conduct Panel?

  • If you are interested in serving on the Student Conduct Administrative Panel, contact the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 644.5136.

FAQs for Students

I received a Charge Letter, what does this mean?

  • It is alleged that you have violated the Student Conduct Code. You must call the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 644.5136 within 5 class days of receiving the charge letter to set up an appointment for an information session. At this point, no decisions regarding responsibility have been made regarding the alleged violation.

What is an Information Session?

  • An information session is a time for you to meet with a representative from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to discuss your rights as a Florida State student. It is not a hearing, but an opportunity for you to become more informed about the disciplinary process. During the information session, you will:
  1. review the materials that will be considered at your hearing
  2. review your rights as a student
  3. have the student conduct process explained to you 
  4. select a hearing body to have your case resolved, unless the hearing body is pre-selected
  5. have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have

What if I am also facing criminal charges?

  • The criminal system and Florida State University are separate entities. The University's student conduct process focuses on University violations. If a student has been charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code, it must be resolved through the University student conduct process regardless of the outcome of the legal process.

This incident happened off campus. Why is the university involved?

  • The university has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on-campus and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the university community and the university mission.

If my charges have been dropped by the City of Tallahassee or another agency, will they also be dropped by FSU?

  • No. The University falls under the Student Conduct Code and is separate from processes. Your Student Conduct Code case will proceed regardless of what happens outside of the university.

Do I need an attorney present during the University student conduct process?

  • No, but you may have an attorney present if you choose. As a Florida State student, you have the right to have an advisor accompany you throughout the student conduct process. This can be an attorney, friend, parent, faculty member, or whoever you choose. Student Government sponsors a Student Defender who can advise you throughout the student conduct process. Regardless of who you choose to serve as your advisor, you are the only one allowed to speak on your behalf. Advisors cannot speak for students in their hearing unless authorized to do so by the hearing body. Students are only allowed to have one advisor present during their judicial hearing.

    Students will need to complete and submit the "Role of Advisor" form to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at least two class days prior to their hearing in order for an advisor to be present at the hearing.

Why do I have a judicial hold on my registration?

  • The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities may place a hold on your University records and registration if you have an outstanding case. This may mean that you have been charged with an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code but have not contacted our office to initiate the process, that you have not picked up your decision letter, or that you have incomplete sanctions. While these are the most common reasons for judicial holds, there are various other reasons a hold can be placed on a student’s account. Your hold will not be lifted until you contact our office and resolve the situation.

I received a letter stating interim disciplinary action has been taken against me and that I am not allowed to attend classes pending the decision of a disciplinary hearing. Is the university withdrawing me from classes?

  • The university does not initiate a withdrawal process when a student is issued interim disciplinary action. It is up to the student to decide whether or not to withdraw from classes. If a student does withdraw, student conduct code charges may still be brought against the student. For more information about the withdrawal process, contact 644.1741.

    Please also note, if a student has received notice that he/she is being charged with an alleged violation of the Academic Honor Policy, the student is not permitted to withdraw or drop the course unless the final outcome of the process indicates that no academic penalty will be imposed.

Will this charge stay on my record?

  • If you are found responsible for a violation of the Student Conduct Code, the University will maintain a record of the violation in compliance with Florida Records law (some exceptions may apply).

Who has access to my disciplinary file?

  • Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, we are not allowed to disclose your disciplinary file to anyone but you. Some exceptions may apply. Typically, in order to disclose your disciplinary history to anyone (including parents), we must have a signed waiver from you.

What is the FSU Parental Notification Policy?

  • The Parental Notification Policy at FSU states that we can notify parents in emergency situations or when students are engaging in high risk behavior. In addition, we will notify parents of students who are found responsible for possession or consumption of alcohol as an underage student twice within one year.

Why do I have to go through this process if I did not do anything wrong?

  • Upon entering Florida State University, you signed an agreement stating that you would abide by the Student Conduct Code. If a report has been received by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities stating that you allegedly violated the Student Conduct Code, the matter will need to be addressed. The judicial process allows us to address the allegation. Remember, cases are not decided before they are heard. The hearing provides you with an opportunity to present your side of the story and respond to the charges.

What sanctions will I receive?

  • Each case is treated individually, therefore, educational sanctions will vary from case to case. Our intent in sanctioning is to educate students on policies and decision making. Educational sanctions are determined based on the severity of the charge(s), a student's student conduct history (if any), a student's developmental needs, and the Student Conduct Code.

What if I do not agree with the decision of the hearing?

  • As a Florida State student, you have the right to an appeal. An appeal request must be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities within five class days after receiving a copy of the decision letter. An appeal request must be based on one of the reasons listed in the Student Conduct Code.

I have been called as a witness in a disciplinary hearing, what does this mean?

  • Witnesses are called to provide testimony regarding student disciplinary cases. Individuals called as witnesses will be asked to give a brief statement regarding their involvement in the situation. They may be asked questions by both the hearing body and the charged student. Individuals serving as witnesses are typically required to be present at the hearing. However, witnesses may participate via telephone due to extenuating circumstances if approved by the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (or designee). Due to the nature of the hearing procedures, witnesses may be required to attend the hearing for a lengthy period of time. This will depend on the number of people involved and the extent of information available.

What if I feel I am a victim in an incident or want to file a report?

  • If you feel a violation of the Student Conduct Code has occurred against you or you have witnessed an incident, you may contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to file a report in the form of a signed, written statement. The office will then determine if the information warrants student conduct code charges. You may contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Victim Advocate office to gain additional information about the judicial process and your rights as a complainant in this process. You are also encouraged to file a report with the FSU Police to determine if what has occurred is a violation of any laws and to allow police to investigate the incident. FSUPD will forward a copy of their report to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities after the case is closed.

I am applying to graduate, professional, or law school and I need to have a Dean Certification or Verification form filled out about my disciplinary history. What do I do?

  • Since the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities maintains student disciplinary records, we frequently receive requests from students and institutions to which our students have applied for Dean Certifications. Because this is such a frequent occurrence, we have developed a form that we complete upon receipt of a Dean Certification request.

    If you need a form filled out, you can bring the form to our office or fax it to 850.644.0687. If the institution to which you are sending the form requires that the completed form be mailed back, you must provide us with a stamped envelope and the address for the institution. If the form can be faxed back to the institution, we can easily fax the form as long as we have the appropriate fax number.

FAQs for Off-Campus

I will be serving as a charged student's advisor. What is my role as an advisor?

  • The Student Conduct Code affords all students involved in the University student conduct process the right to an advisor (see section 1.d and 1.g.6(c) of the Student Conduct Code). An advisor can be an attorney, friend, parent, faculty member, or anyone a student chooses. Regardless of who a student chooses to advise him/her, the advisor cannot speak for a student in the hearing unless authorized by the hearing body. However, the advisor can consult with the student, takes notes and speak with the student during a break if the hearing body permits.

As an advisor, do I have access to the student's file and information?

  • The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is obligated to uphold the confidentiality of its records and communications with Florida State University students. In keeping with our educational philosophy, we encourage students to seek out resources to help them answer any questions that they may have. We ask that parents, advisors and attorneys speak with the student about any concerns before contacting our office as we will only be able to provide procedural information in order to comply with confidentiality regulations. In order for a staff member from our office to provide confidential information to a third party regarding a student's case, the student will need to sign the confidentiality waiver form. Please refer to the Student Conduct Code for procedural inquiries.

What if the student is facing criminal charges?

  • The criminal system and FSU are separate entities. The FSU process focuses on University violations. If a student has been charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code, it must be resolved through the University student conduct process regardless of the outcome of the legal process.

I am not a member of the FSU community, and have knowledge of an incident. How do I file a report?

  • If you feel a violation of the Student Conduct Code has occurred against you or you have witnessed an incident, you may contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to file a report in the form of a signed, written statement. The office will then determine if the information warrants student conduct code charges. You are also encouraged to file a report with a police agency to determine if what has occurred is a violation of any laws and to allow police to investigate the incident. FSUPD will forward a copy of their report to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities after the case is closed.

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